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College of Continuing Education News

Scholarships illuminate a new path

Scholarships help some of the best and brightest students illuminate a new path to their futures.

Here are the stories of just two of this year's scholarship recipients.

Timothy Church
CCE Centennial Scholarship recipient
Degree program: Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology Infrastructure (ITI)

Timothy Church.jpg

A self-professed "computer geek," Tim Church knew right away that the ITI program was the perfect fit for him. "Working with computers comes easily to me, and I like helping people with them. I was often my family and friend's go-to 'computer guy' when they needed help.

"ITI was a good fit for me, as I'm interested in the managing of systems angle--I'm fascinated by how computers connect; I enjoy setting up my own networking equipment at home, and playing with all of the settings. I felt like a computer science degree went too in-depth in areas I wasn't looking for, and didn't prepare me for the types of careers I wanted to explore."

While he was excited about his studies, Church also was stressed about his rising financial costs, and worried that he might have to take time off from school in order to work more and save enough to pay for his final semesters. Becoming the first recipient of the CCE Centennial Scholarship changed all that.

"When I opened the letter saying I had been awarded the funds, I was ecstatic. Worrying about financial issues makes focusing on school very hard...this scholarship allowed me to pay off fully my spring semester and give full attention to my classes."

Church is now ready to tackle his senior year, and then, hopefully an internship followed by a career in systems/network administration. "I'm so grateful for the opportunity. There are endless possibilities and opportunities for lifelong learning that come with this field. This scholarship opened the doors to all that for me."

Liisa Beckman
Ingrid Lenz-Harrison Scholarship recipient
Degree program: Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Behavioral Health

Liisa Beckman.jpg

In 1985, after three years of undergraduate work at the U, Liisa Beckman found herself "neither happy, nor doing well." So, she left to join the workforce, moving cross country twice (to New York, and later to California) before returning to the Twin Cities and to her education--finishing her bachelor's degree in deaf studies in 1999.

Since then, she has continued her work as a communications specialist and graphic designer. And while it is a job that Beckman has enjoyed, she felt there was an additional educational opportunity she needed to explore, one that tied directly to her personal history.

"I had been overweight since childhood. By my mid-20s, I was obese--dangerously so. My health was poor; I was on many medications; I was too overweight to have a child (something I very much wanted to do)...and I was at loose ends. I was at the point where I didn't want to live anymore.

"That's when I found Overeaters Anonymous (OA), which saved my life. That was in 2000; in 2003, I became a 12-step sponsor. Through that role, I've gained direct insight into addiction and mental illness."

She continues, "For years, I wasn't sure what to do with my undergraduate degree, but now, after learning about CCE's Integrated Behavioral Health program, I know precisely what I want to do. I would like to be able to bring what I learn in the Integrated Behavioral Health program about addiction and co-occurring disorders to bear on eating disorders/food addiction. The Twin Cities is home to one of the few deaf/hard-of-hearing inpatient addiction treatment programs in the country, and being able to work with individuals struggling with food addiction, in the deaf culture, would be a unique challenge.

It is a novel approach to the degree, and one Beckman could not have undertaken without help from the Ingrid Lenz-Harrison Scholarship. "As a single parent, working full-time, finances are a challenge," she says. "This scholarship eases some of that burden and helps make it possible. This degree will help me to combine a career and my personal interests--I'm ready to put my passion into practice, thanks in part to this generous gift."

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